October 29th, 2007


Tales of the Tribe: Mighty Hunters

Sometimes it's hell having talking dogs.

I was doing dishes when Bonnie came running into the kitchen. "Help, need help, now now now," she said in a rush.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Belle has brought a dead bird into the house," she replied squeamishly. She handed me a plastic grocery bag. "Ick," she amplified.

Taking the bag, I went into the living room. Belle had a rather dishevelled, extremly limp grackle on the carpet. She looked up.

"Oh, hey!" she said brightly. "Mind if I eat in front of the TV?"

"Actually, I do," I said, bending down to look at the bird. It was missing an eye and a claw but mostly looked intact. It hadn't been dead long enough to stink badly. "Move off."

Belle stared at me. "Are you high?" she demanded. "Right this second, in front of your kids and everything, are you high as a kite? This is my bird; get your own!"

I grabbed Belle's collar and moved her away from the bird. Nothing juicy had stained the rug, thank goodness. Belle protested, of course.

"Unbelievable!" she groused. "A girl gets something good, and then along comes The Man to take it away." I turned the sack inside out, used it as a glove to grab the bird, and then reversed it again so the bird was inside. It was cold to the touch and surprisingly lightweight.

I waved the sack at Belle. "You can't just eat dead things off the ground; it's not sanitary."

"Sanitary, schmanitary," griped Belle, still bitter. "I'm convinced people just made up the idea of germs to ruin the fun of dogs and small children."

Sweet Pea sniffed the bag. "I'll have you know that bird was perfectly clean and healthy when I killed it," he boasted. Belle talks like a hard-boiled diner waitress, but Pea sounds more like Errol Flynn.

I arched an eyebrow at Pea. "You killed this bird?"

"Indeed!" he preened. "I stalked him about the yard for the better part of an hour. Then, when the time was ripe, I pounced!"

"And that's when you bit the bird," I encouraged.

"Just so!" Pea replied. "Oh, it fought like a lion!"

"This bird here?" I asked, shaking the bag. "You bit this bird?"

"That very one," Pea acknowledged.

"The bird with no bite marks on it."

"Ah!" Pea temporized. "Well, I rather suspect that it was probably mortal terror that did the poor creature in, don't you know. Leapt upon by a large predator; must have been a dreadful shock."

"How come you aren't scratched up if it fought so hard?" I said, examining Pea's fur on his face.

"Yes, well...." Pea strugged to establish his story.

Still sulking in a corner, Belle rolled her eyes. "It was dead when he got to it," she intoned, bored.

"That sounds more like it," I agreed, knotting the top of the bag.

"Nonsense!" protested Pea. "There it was, thrashing about madly...."

"It dropped from the sky like a rock," clarified Belle.

"Thrashing about in its death throes..." Pea edited.

"It hit with a WHUMP and didn't move," added Belle.

"...and so I sprang upon it...."

"He barked a lot. From a distance."

"...and there you have the result! A fine, clean kill, as befits the handiwork of an alpha male dog!" Pea is too stupid to allow his pride to suffer any real injury, regardless of the facts.

Belle licked her own paw. "Whatever," she mumbled.

I took the bird out to the dumpster and dropped it in. Mojo met me at the door. "I want you to know that I didn't touch that bird even though it was in the yard all day," he said.

"I'm sure that's true," I said, walking past him through the laundry room.

"It's because I'm the only good dog," he continued conspiratorially. "They're all bad, but not me."

"Of course, Mojo." He followed me into the house and pressed his head against my leg, demanding my attention.

"I just want you to know," he hissed, even more quietly than before, "that if you ever felt the need or desire to get rid of those other dogs, but keep me, that would be entirely okay."

I petted his head. "That's a nice thought, Mojo."

"Just an option to ponder," he said, winking.

I went back to the kitchen and got dog treats for everybody. Belle sniffed at her faux jerky.

"Oh, that there's some cold comfort," she bitched, but she took her treat anyway and ran off.

Bonnie looked in. "Is the dead bird gone?"

"Yeah," I grumbled. "Might be replaced by a dead dog sometime soon."

Beside the couch, Mojo winked again.